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3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
From the author of Come Closer comes the most highly acclaimed-and unusual-thriller of the year. Josephine, a former addict, is offered a thousand dollars to find a suburban couple's missing daughter. But the search will take her into the dark underbelly of New York she thought she'd escaped-and a web of deceit that threatens to destroy her.
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Berkley (first published February 2nd 2006)
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Nov 20, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Original 2011 review Sara Gran, where have you been all my life? Or more specifically, the last two weeks, when I couldn't find anything to read that inspired more than a 'meh'? This book is superb. The writing is sharp, crisp, fresh, bracing, a punch in the jaw. I finished this in roughly two hours on Sunday night & I am still thinking about Joey and the raw old hand she got dealt. Magnificent.

2014 re-reading review I'm doing a Sara Gran re-read leading up to Halloween because I don't have
Meine Rezension findet ihr hier :)
Kimz Zahour
Nov 04, 2008 Kimz Zahour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Small in stature... big on story!
A reformed "junkie" goes off the grift for a legit job of finding a missing girl and is thrown into a world (Hell's Kitchen 1950s) she had been trying to avoid in order to stay clean. I had trouble feeling very sympathetic to her situation until the plot started twisting and the tables were turning. Good storytelling!
Thanks again Bethany!
Aug 22, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Sure as shit ain't like Pleasantville around these parts.

Sara Gran's look at the seedy flipside of 1950's America is a fantastic slice of noir that calls to mind greats like James M. Cain and early Lawrence Block. Joesephine Flannigan is paid to find a college girl slumming it as a dope fiend and using the contacts she built up through a lifetime of stealing and whoring and scoring dope gets hooked on solving a mystery much darker than she ever anticipated. This is everything the good clean hous
Jun 17, 2012 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
DOPE is a an admirably solid and capable noir thriller. The novel is fairly literate, which I appreciate, but like many "highbrow" novels it somehow feels like it's distancing itself from its source material, which in this case it borrows from most thoroughly (especially Chandler and Cain). DOPE a fast and fun read (well, maybe not "fun"--parts are bleak and harrowing), and the conceit is an effective one: moving classic noir settings up a decade into 1950's, where the novel, since it is written ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down. Sara Gran writes a great noir mystery with none of the usual male BS. Instead, like City of the Dead, she burrows into the underbelly of a city (this time 1950s New York), and portrays each character with a clear-eyed humanizing portrait. Not that it makes them likable characters, necessarily, but understandable and real.
Her dialogue is sharp and her handling of situations is equally sharp. While I would never use adjectives like "elegiac" "lush" or "evocative" (w
Jul 07, 2013 Anachronist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1950s, New York City, light ages before the famous ‘no tolerance’ policy of Mayor Giuliani. Josephine Flannigan, 36, tries to make her living as a former heroin addict. She is a skilled con artist, a shrewd shoplifter and, generally, whatever anybody wants her to be providing they pay cash. She doesn’t do drugs and she doesn’t sell herself, anything else is negotiable. She must be clever and flexible - in such a seedy, dangerous, crime-ridden city she is lucky she’s survived to her third decade ...more
Debbi Mack
Mar 09, 2016 Debbi Mack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best stories are the kind that linger in your mind long after you've finished them. For me, DOPE by Sara Gran was that kind of story.

Josephine "Joe" Flannigan is just the girl next door--if you happen to live in Hell's Kitchen, that is. Joe grew up there under the not-so-watchful eye of a single mother, so it was up to Joe to look after herself and her kid sister, Shelley. Both girls end up falling in with the wrong crowd and getting addicted to heroin, but pulling themselves out of "the lif
Mar 05, 2009 Hank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the finest piece of American noir I've come across.
Rogue Reader
Sep 06, 2014 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1950's New York. Josephine is just at the edge, surviving right there. She's got a place. It's not much, but she's not getting raped by her mother's boyfriends. She's shoplifting, selling goods on the sly so she's got an income of sorts. She's not using now, though longs for the release the blind sleep of heroin brings. She's got friends, at least a couple of people who are wracked with abuse, near death. They knew her before and remember, if barely.

And Josephine's got a sister, Shelley, who's
Brian Grover
This book was billed as (paraphrasing) "Chandler-esque noir set in 1950s New York City, with a series of shocking twists", which is right in my wheelhouse as a reader. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the results, for a couple of reasons.

One, while the similarities to Chandler are obvious, Philip Marlowe was a smartass of the highest caliber whose banter with the lowlifes he dealt with provided a welcome undercurrent of black humor throughout. Gran's protagonist here, Josephine Flannigan,
A glimpse into the lives of New York City junkies, mystery style. Josephine (Joey, Joe) has stayed clean for two years - but has never made it above earning her income by conning and thieving. She gets an offer to track down a daughter of a wealthy couple; the daughter is apparently doing drugs. Joe, having recently come clean, knows about the world where drug users end up. Joe turns PI and starts looking for the daughter.

The twist ending is well crafted.

e-bay purchase, book group book for Janua
Joe Kraus
Jul 26, 2016 Joe Kraus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardboiled-noir
There’s a lot to admire in this one. Gran sets out to interrogate the tough-guy aura of 1950s crime stories by presenting us with a female protagonist, Josepine Flannigan. And she isn’t simply a “private dick” in a dress. She is genuinely a woman, a woman who’s suffered as a neglected daughter, a put-upon prostitute, and a hard-luck junkie. She sees the world differently than the stereotype because her situation begins from an entirely different point: she isn’t someone suffering existential ang ...more
Jennifer Conner
Nov 09, 2014 Jennifer Conner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was nothing like what I had been expecting. I tore through it. I'm glad that my book club picked this book. It should create some really good conversation.
Dec 17, 2008 Brandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten all about this book... I picked it up a couple of years ago because I dug the cover and it had an interesting storyline, but I was totally surprised at how good it was. Sara Gran does a fantastic job creating a perfectly dead-on noir feel.
Melanie Eddolls
I liked this book more than I had anticipated. Sara Gran is an author I had not heard of but one that I can appreciate. Josephine is a strong leading character in that her addiction, her desire for more junk after two years of "clean living," as well as the toxic relationships with acquaintances from the underground of the dope world ring true and are believable.

However, the descriptions of her shoplifting sprees and her relationship with her model sister seem undeveloped. These are key to Jose
This starts out reading like a docudrama and ends up mystery--which is actually what saves it from being trite and, ultimately, boring. Gran does little to make her protagonist stand out from other drug addict-thief characters we have read about before, those who have come clean, those who doubt their ability to stay clean, those who crave the drug and those determined not to go back. In this way, Josephine's character fails to stimulate the mind or imagination. The characters she meets are what ...more
Matt Schiariti
Nov 19, 2012 Matt Schiariti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just when you think you know where it's going...'ll throw you for a loop!
I loved every page of Gran's 'Come Closer'..I read that in several hours of straight page turning. Dope is the exact same way. It's a short read, but it's so compelling and well written that it feels like much more book than it actually is. You'll probably find yourself finishing this one in one sitting.

An ex heroine addict is approached by a wealthy family to find their daughter. She was raised with the best of everyt
Nov 01, 2013 Bryce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slim noir, that keeps all the genre conventions in place while simultaneously turning them on their head.

Josephine is a con artist, petty thief and ex-junkie. She's hired to find a missing girl, by worried parents that want her to use her special knowledge and connections to bring their daughter home. But all is not as it seems and Joe soon finds herself up against some bad folks.

I loved the setting: 1950, New York City. I have an image of the 50's, and especially women of that era, as refin
Leeann Sheriff
Dec 16, 2015 Leeann Sheriff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People don't understand how they can be given a label for life with the company that they keep. Joe has always hustled throughout her life to make the next end meet. She is asked to help a wealthy couple find their daughter that went missing. She is a recovering dope addict and whore, asked to revisit all of the darkest places of her past to finding this girl. Come to find there are many twists as the book go along and it really opens your eyes to how terrible even the closest person in your lif ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead--a smart, alternative noir mystery--I was left craving for more. Dope, an earlier novel with some of the same gritty vibe, is set in the petty thieving underworld of 1950’s New York, a place that in no way resembles anything from Happy Days. Josephine, a former addict, straight for two years, is just getting by picking pockets and shoplifting jewelry when she is paid a colossal pile of cash by a distraught couple who wants her to l ...more
May 15, 2008 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the sons of Sam Spade and the daughters of Philip Marlowe
Shelves: prose-fiction
Sara Gran has the style of classic hardboiled fiction down perfect, hitting all the right notes from start to finish. What really sets her apart though, from the Hammetts and the Chandlers, is the woman's perspective. Her story of Josephine Hannigan, a former junkie turned amateur detective in 1950s New York, employs most of the standard tropes of these kinds of plots, but she takes more care to show us the ladies on the outer edges of the story that usually take a backseat to the macho gunsalls ...more
Kat Hagedorn
Mar 09, 2010 Kat Hagedorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mystery

Talk about minimalist writing. This book is written in the best hard-as-nails, noir style. And for that reason alone it's engaging. You can't quite tell whether you should like the protagonist too much, much the same way Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder is an enigmatic protagonist. (Goodness, don't they get bored going to bars and sitting in their rooms, smoking?)

I did figure out the denouement early on. It's very hard to write mysteries without giving away the bad guy (
May 25, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Josephine Flannigan, a former junkie and prostitute, is hired by a mysterious couple to find their missing daughter. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned.

Stay far, far away from this book if you need to like the characters; chances are pretty high that you won’t like most of the lowlives that appear in this well-written piece of genre fiction. But if like me, you’re all about the narrative, you should pick this one up.

The final act of this novel is surprisingly affecting, if disturbing, a
Apr 21, 2013 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I read Gran's book, Come Closer, and became a fan. Dope didn't disappoint, either. I don't know how Gran did her research, but she definitely new how to get inside the mind of a heroin addict. (I know a recovering addict, so was able to confirm some of the experiences being described in the book.) This was a page-turner and didn't have the ending I expected. An excellent mystery; highly recommended.
Aug 27, 2011 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is the third Sara Gran book that I have read this year. She is so talented. Each novel is so different, so unique, so well-written. My favorite is still Come Closer but probably due to the supernatural subject matter of the novel.

I hope she has a long career ahead of her as I intend to read every word she ever publishes.
Jan 26, 2016 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, drugs
A 30-something former addict is hired by a wealthy couple to find their college-age junkie daughter in 1950's New York City.

This is certainly a page-turner. The original mystery becomes more complex, with various twists and turns in the plot. There's something happening almost constantly. The protagonist is jaded and flawed, yet likeable. The ending is appropriate.

I can recommend this novel.

Mar 09, 2014 Dorie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated by stories of addiction of any kind. Add a missing person, a noir tone, and a 1950s NYC background and I'm all about it.

The problem I found was that I could not care less about the characters, even our heroine. It was an easy read, and I flew through the first half waiting for something to really hook me so that I couldn't put the book down, but when what I'm guessing was supposed to be a major twist in the story occurred, I just didn't care. The story yelled "Ta-Da! Bet you didn'
Patricia Loofbourrow
The grim, gritty story of Josephine Flanagan, an ex-junkie turned private eye in 1950's NYC, who is hired to find a Barnard dropout - who her parents think is on "dope".

What starts out as a straightforward case - like most detective noir - turns out to be anything but. Tightly plotted, well written. Lots of details of addiction and the seedy, sad life which follows. No one escapes, even when they think they have, and "Joe" finds herself suffering betrayal after betrayal even to the very last pa
Dec 28, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been wanting to read this one for a while, though my enthusiasm cooled a little after not really loving _Come Closer_. But this one was as good as I'd hoped.

The basic set-up is a women in the nineteen fifties who is a recovered junkie is sent to locate a missing junkie girl, thinking her connections with the drug culture will make it easier for her. Of course, this is a pretty twisty noir, and there are other things going on-- and Gran is so good at plotting here that you're totally lulled
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“I never met an addict who came from a nice home . I've met addicts that came from families that had money and nice houses. But never from a nice home.” 21 likes
“A new car in every driveway. Every house had a little lawn out front, and every blade of grass on each lawn was trimmed down to the exact same height. Some of the ladies had flower beds and even the flowers all looked alike, something small and pink. There wasn’t a person out on the streets, which made sense seeing as there were no sidewalks—the lawns came all the way out to the road. It gave me the creeps. Each” 0 likes
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